The less tangible but no less wonderful gifts arrived unlooked for in the course of our worship at Church in the Valley...
- At the Crib Service, the baby Jesus (6 weeks old) slept throughout the service, and his peace somehow rubbed off on all of us, so that instead of the rather manic, overexcited abandon of past Christmas Eves, this year we went home glowing gently with hope and holiness.
- At Midnight a self styled "redundant" opera singer, who had appeared for the 8.00 on Advent 4 was seated in the front pew with his family and his beautiful voice lent the body that we needed to our music and even supported my nearly-exhausted post-cold soprano through all the essential singing
- Hugger Steward read the lesson from Isaiah 9 and as I heard those words drop into the candle-lit silence their truth unexpectedly overwhelmed me and brought me to tears
- A young man whose disability meant that getting to the altar is a real struggle helped me to understand a little better what the Incarnation means...With help from his mum he managed to reach the altar rail and kneel, but depended on me to place the host on his tongue - he could only get so far on his own, and needed me to meet him when he had reached the end of his own resources. So many important lessons for me summed up in that one encounter, which, please God, I'll carry with me way beyond this Christmas.